- Politics and Social Issues
Black Activists - Josephine Baker
"… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw." – Ernest Hemingway speaking about Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker was born June 3, 1906 in St Louis,Missouriand died April 12, 1975 in Paris,France. Josephine Baker is best known for her dancing and her famous banana costume but she had many other talents. Josephine Baker was considered a muse for many; authors, artists, men and women of all types. Baker did not feel comfortable living in the United States and having to deal with racism on a daily basis so she moved toParis,France.
Josephine Baker was a school drop out and a street child. While living on the streets Baker would make money dancing on street corners where she would later be discovered. At a very young age Josephine Baker started dancing in aSt Louisdance group. Then Baker would move toNew Yorkand perform atHarlem’s famous Cotton Club. In the 1920s Baker moved toParis,Franceto live and perform. At one point Baker returned to theUnited Statesfor a short time and was a member of the Ziegfield Follies.
Josephine Baker was a true performer not only was she a dancer but she sang and acted too. Baker was a triple threat being able to sing, dance and act and her performances were well received with accolades, awards and standing ovations. Audiences were blown away talents and delivery. From her exotic dances to her sexy singing Baker gave a complete performance.
Josephine Baker worked with several civil rights organizations and was also the only woman to speak at the March on Washington in 1963. Baker struggled early on in her life with racism and discrimination and wanted to find equality and peace in the world. Baker moved to France so that she did not have to deal with the inequalities she had come to know in the United States. "Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than the skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one's soul; when birth places have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood."Baker did not have children of her own but did have adopted children that were from all over the world to prove that children from different countries and nationalities could live together.
Josephine Baker was an extraordinary woman; a talented woman ahead of her time. Baker was more than just a dancer she was an entertainer. Baker wanted the world to be accepting of everyone. Josephine Baker was limited by racism so she chose to fight for equality as well as find a place of serenity for herself. Speaking on how she dealt with and felt about dealing with racism and inequality Baker said, “I did take the blows [of life], but I took them with my chin up, in dignity, because I so profoundly love and respect humanity.” Josephine Baker did have a great and wonderful respect and love of humanity and it showed in everything she did.